This year, we in the Diocese of Southern Ohio are laying the foundation for Becoming Beloved Community, the Episcopal Church’s vision of being and practicing what it means to be Christian and followers of Jesus. We know that this work calls for us to come together in community to learn and practice. We cannot do it alone.

So, as we grow into Becoming Beloved Community, we are offering a Learning Journey for 2019. This journey will span from February to May and provide us a structure, time, and space to do the work we are being called to do.

Background

We invite you and/or your group to join a learning journey from February through May 2019. By participating in this learning journey, you will have the opportunity to access resources (community-based assets, Becoming Beloved Community toolkit, funding) aimed at the development of Becoming Beloved Community Center.

Participation in this learning journey calls for a commitment to do the challenging and deep work of racial healing and justice. This work will include inner work of our hearts, minds and spirits in order to examine our identities, disrupt White Supremacy and to open ourselves in new ways to connect with God and others. In addition, this work will require a willingness to build/strengthen new practices that drive Becoming Beloved Community including: conflict transformation, participatory dialogue methods (ie sacred listening circles), and community-driven organizing/action.

Purpose and Structure

The Episcopal Church has made a deep and long-term commitment to racial healing and justice, in the form of Becoming Beloved Community. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted, becoming beloved community “will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” As we lay the foundation for Becoming Beloved Community in and across our diocese, we know the importance of providing us a shared process and structure that will foster a change in our collective souls, together. We believe that by connecting those interested in and ready to grow into Becoming Beloved Community,  we will build a strong foundation of members who are aligned, invested, and equipped to manifest Becoming Beloved Community into their local churches, communities, and beyond.

This Becoming Beloved Community learning journey is designed to do just that and includes intensive, in-person gatherings, online check-ins, and personal reflection. The learning journey is open to all – in and outside of the Episcopal Church.

Timeline

The in-person gatherings are essential; all participants will be expected to attend all of them. Dates include:

Feb 8-9: Friday 5 p.m. to Saturday 4 p.m. at Procter Center
April 6: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Procter Center
May 11: Saturday, Convocation at Procter Center

The content of this year’s learning journey will focus on Telling the Truth, one area of the four-fold path of Becoming Beloved Community. Participants will have opportunities to learn and practice truth-telling as we explore questions such as:

  • What racial/cultural/ethnic groups are in our church?
  • Who have we excluded or included?
  • What has been the role of the Episcopal Church in perpetuating and addressing racism?
  • What roles do we, as individuals, play in racial and social oppression? And justice?

Learning objectives of the journey include

  • Build community
  • Share and learn with one another
  • Create shared vision, goals, outcomes for Becoming Beloved Community
  • Equip participants as Becoming Beloved Community leaders
  • Develop Becoming Beloved Community toolkit for participants to use when moving to action

Use of Seed Funding

Participants in the learning journey will be invited to apply for seed funding to support moving toward love in action. More information on this process will be provided as part of the shared learning.

Application Process and Cost:

All who are interested in participating in the Becoming Beloved Community learning journey are invited to apply. Applications are due by January 18. CLICK HERE TO APPLY

Applicants will be notified by January 25 of their acceptance. Cost is still being finalized; participants will be asked to contribute to the learning journey although the majority of cost will be covered by the Becoming Beloved Community grant. Please direct any questions that you may have to Amy Howton, Becoming Beloved Community Coordinator, ahowton@diosohio.org.